2012 launch for Varta Start-Stop service programme
According to Johnson Controls, an estimated 70 per cent of all new vehicles manufactured by 2015 will feature Start-Stop technology. Yet Joacim Adlerborn, the company’s training and technical services manager, opines that the majority of independent workshops still feel ill-equipped to service these vehicles.
Procedure for replacing a Start-Stop battery differs from that for a conventional car battery, as it is intricately linked to the vehicle’s on-board electronics via a battery management system (BMS) or intelligent battery sensor (IBS). “On the one hand, 70 per cent of independent workshops consider the subject relevant for the near future,” comments Adlerborn. “But 60 per cent are still unprepared for repairing a Start-Stop car, and 80 per cent would even defer their customers to their vehicle manufacturer dealer network.”
To counter low levels of know-how in dealing with Start-Stop system servicing, Johnson Controls is launching the VARTA Start-Stop Service programme (VSSP), which it says will provide independent workshops with total product support and training in this area. At the heart of the VSSP is a wi-fi diagnostic tool that is smaller than an iPad and allows technicians to manage all the necessary steps in testing start-stop systems and replacing the Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) or Enhanced Flooded (EFB) Battery units they employ. Johnson Controls shares that the tool’s introduction stems directly from a market survey it conducted with 1,200 workshops across Europe.
The VSSP tool functions by first ascertaining the vehicle and battery type and providing the technician with precise information on where to find the battery (often hidden away in the boot or under the driver’s seat) and the EOBD (European on-board diagnostics) interface with the aid of a 2D code and VIN number. The technician then receives a touch screen operated step-by-step multimedia guide to replacing the battery. The VSSP 2.0 can also be used to test the battery, evaluate or delete error codes and read individual vehicle data. By regularly connecting the device to Johnson Controls’ secure area for partners via wireless internet, workshops can also keep the device up to date, as well as access all relevant data on battery replacement at any time.
Supporting the diagnostic tool is a service programme developed for Johnson Controls by vehicle systems training specialist eXponentia to assist workshops in staff training. Johnson Controls will also offer technical support through e-learning via the internet. Furthermore, to enable workshops to provide customers with a comprehensive quality endorsement, VSSP offers a two year Varta mobility guarantee. Additional marketing support, such as registered partner exterior signage, and a range of promotional material will be made available to support workshops.
“The device and all that goes with it is provided automatically by Johnson Controls,” Adlerborn continues. “It is important to us to make the transition to the Start-Stop vehicle segment as easy and cost-effective for workshops as possible with so many cars now featuring this technology, and many more to come. Workshops must prepare themselves as quickly as possible.”
Workshops interested in registering for the Varta Start-Stop Service programme can obtain a licence package from their dealer, which they can use to register online. Licence packages will be available via the Varta network to workshops from 1 March 2012 onwards.